Pastor Alan Langstaff/9.24.15
All families have certain routines that they follow. One of ours is that my wife Dorothy and I like to start the day with breakfast together, followed by a devotional and a time to pray. For many years, we have used a devotional written by a long time friend Bob Gass and his wife Debby entitled ‘The Word for You Today.’ Click here for link to The Word for You Today Online
Recently, we were taken by a daily devotional entitled ‘Are you Selling Your Dream?’ It caught our attention and caused us to reflect on the word it contained. Let me share part of this devotional with you.
‘In the movie Up in the Air, actor George Clooney is hired by a major corporation to handle big layoffs. His job is to fire people. In one scene when he’s about to fire an aging middle manager, he notices on the guy’s résumé that he’d been trained as a French chef. As the man expresses despair over losing his job, Clooney reminds him of his original dream and asks him this soul- searching question: “Back when you started, how much did it take to buy you away from your dream?” At that pivotal moment the middle manager thought back to the time he decided to settle for a steady paycheck in exchange for what he really wanted to do with his life. Are you doing that? Understand this: The day you were born God had a track for you to run on and an assignment for you to fulfill. Are you realizing that you’ve settled for second best, and now God’s giving you a second chance; a chance to do the thing He put you in the world to do?’
The phrase ‘Back when you started, how much did it take to buy you away from your dream?’ caught our attention and we reflected back on some of the people we had known across the years, especially young people, including going back to our origins in Australia. We remember some that we had known, who at the time were passionate and seemingly sold out for Jesus. People, who now are no longer anything like the people they once were.
We remembered a young man we knew who, when he returned from a missions trip to South America, told us excitedly that he felt God had called him to go back there as a missionary. He never did. Instead, he got a good job in business, got married and had children. The drive of missions never became a reality, although I am sure he is serving God in other ways.
We thought of a group of young people we knew, in the early days of the Charismatic Renewal, who were on fire for Jesus. They were prepared to make sacrifices and were stepping out in faith to serve the Lord, but somewhere along the way that fire went out.
Another young man we thought of, who had been in our church, had sensed that he had a call on his life. God had moved upon him one night at church and yet years later, nothing had happened and at present, I am not sure he is even attending church anymore.
I am not just referring to the people called to go into ministry. Having a dream applies to all areas of life: the dream to further your education, to get a better job, to try a new career, to write a book, to go on a missions trip, to get involved in a new area of service, to own your own home, and so on. Dreams that never become a reality.
There is a very challenging scripture in Provers 29:18, which states, ‘Where there is no revelation (or prophetic vision) the people cast off restraint.’ In other words, unless we are motivated by a God given vision and have goals to reach for them, we will not fulfill our destiny in God. Rather, we will probably settle for something less, albeit something good.
THE UNFULFILLED DREAM
Two years ago in Langstaff Letter #24, I shared a story of a lost dream, such a powerful story that I believe it deserves to be told again.
Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, tells the story of a young man, a coal miner, who by studying at night school became a lawyer. Then he received a call from God for missionary service. He even knew the place – Burma.
He went to missionary school to prepare for answering the call. There he met a lovely girl who also wanted to serve God in missionary service. They were married after graduation but before their appointment to Burma a small complication occurred. He weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces. She had a difficult labor and it prompted them to postpone their acceptance for a year. But the next year brought a flu epidemic which nearly took his life and claimed the life of their little son. The overwhelming medical bills caused another delay and to get out of debt he worked hard in his law practice.
Then another baby arrived and other circumstances delayed their going to Burma. When he eventually applied, Burma was closed to missionaries. His law practice flourished. He supported mission projects. Moishe Rosen tells about talking with this now elderly lawyer, who he greatly respected, he was told a shocking secret – one that the lawyer had kept from even his closest associates. He said, I’ve had a happy life but not a joyous one. I’ve made and given away a fortune. I have the love and respect of many but I did not fulfill my destiny. It’s easy to excuse myself by saying that circumstances dictated another call, but only in the last year of my wife’s life could we admit to one another that we had chosen to do the second best. I am not unhappy but I am not fulfilled.’
Then the lawyer spoke these words to Moishe, ‘I recognize that you are a man of destiny. You have a call from God. Don’t do anything less than what He has called you to do.’ He died shortly after that – without fulfilling his own destiny.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU HAVE SOLD YOUR DREAM?
If you had had a dream, a calling in God and you sold that dream for something else, what can you do? Let me suggest some steps:
- Repent. Yes, I said repent. If you have not fulfilled God’s dream for your life, this is disobedience, a lack of faith to believe God for it to happen.
- Recommit yourself to His purpose and consecrate yourself once again by making Him Lord of your life and of your dreams.
Ask God to rekindle the dream once again or if that is not possible, because the opportunity has come and gone or the circumstances have changed, then ask for a new dream.
- Cultivate an intimate relationship with the Lord, for it is out of our relationship with Him that the fires of passion will burn brightly once more. It can happen.
Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine who had been involved in times past in significant ministry overseas, but who, in recent times, moved back to the United States. He had somewhat lost the dream for ministry that had once drove him forward. The words he said penetrated me, ‘What am I going to do with the rest of my life?’ I felt a word rising up within me as he spoke, ‘God is not finished with you. He has something more for you to do. Seek Him for a new dream.’ If that’s you then God still has something more for you to do in this life. Go for it. I was talking recently to a friend who was 75 years old. I asked him what he was doing now. He told me what he was involved in with these words, ‘I looking for my next assignment.’
In the next Langstaff Letter, I will share with you the story of good friend of mine, a man who was once on fire for God with in international ministry covering every continent and some seventy countries who, like a prodigal, fell away from God. But the hound of heaven brought him back and he is now serving God once more with a new dream. So can you!
Have hope! Your dream can be restored.